Browns bring back RB Kareem Hunt on 1-year deal after Nick Chubb's injury

Kareem Hunt is back with his hometown team.

The Cleveland Browns signed the 28-year-old running back (and Northeast Ohio native) on Wednesday, two days after their starting running back, Nick Chubb, sustained a season-ending knee injury. According to Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot, the deal is for one year and worth up to $4 million.

Hunt reportedly went to visit the Browns on Tuesday. But according to ProFootballTalk, it was actually an official tryout. They wanted to see what he could do. And apparently they liked what they saw.

Though it hadn't really been all that long since the Browns had last seen Hunt. He'd played for Cleveland from 2019 to 2022 and spent last season backing up Nick Chubb. He was a free agent this offseason and visited with the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints, though nothing ever came of those trips.

The Browns lost Chubb on Monday night during a 26-22 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. His left knee, which had been fully reconstructed in college, hyperextended backwards while being tackled in the first half. The injury was so graphic that ESPN refused to show the replay.

CLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 24: Kareem Hunt #27 of the Cleveland Browns runs onto the field prior to a game against the New Orleans Saints at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
The Browns reportedly signed RB Kareem Hunt, who had played in Cleveland for the last four years, to a one-year deal. The signing provides depth after the injury of starting RB Nick Chubb. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

Jerome Ford, a fifth-round draft pick now in his second year, replaced Chubb in the game and rushed for 106 yards on 16 carries and also caught a touchdown. Head coach Kevin Stefanski said on Tuesday that Ford would be the No. 1 running back going forward.

At this point, Hunt's role is expected to be similar to last year's. He didn't start a single game, but saw action in all 17. In limited playing time in 2022, he had 123 carries for 468 yards and three touchdowns. He can still be productive, and maybe even a threat if given the chance.

And it's possible he could be given that chance. Hunt and Stefanski have worked together for five years now, and that familiarity could help him get more playing time. So despite Stefanski's proclamation that Ford is The Guy going forward, there's a chance Hunt could usurp his place, or at least steal some snaps. For that reason, don't completely dismiss him as a possible addition to your fantasy team (especially the deep leagues), but he's probably not going to be very involved in Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans.